Grooming Report February 22nd 2018

Grooming Report For February 22nd

This week we have groomed out Jubilee Rd to Bone Springs, McIntyre Loop, to the store and back twice, out through Morning Creek Snow Park twice , Spout, Andies Prairie to Ruckel, and back Gordon Creek Loop, Balloon Tree loop.  We broke a steering component on the 08 and it is on order, won’t be here until Monday.  The 98 is still running with hay wire on the shut off valve on the engine until we can get a new solenoid.  We have most everything done for the week-end and in good shape.  It groomed really well this week due to cold temperatures and new snow.  The water holes are filled in again at Woodland Crossing and hopefully will hold with the cold temperatures.  The water hole at Spout and TenEyke are holding as well.  We have been in and out of all snow parks this week, some twice.



Jess Thompson TTF grooming  chairman

TTF Newsletter February 2018


By Bob Smith – TTF Board Member

Hi Snowmobilers,

Presidents Day weekend is shaping up to be one of the best this season. As of the evening of the 14th Tollgate has received right at 12” of new snow. What a great Valentine’s Day present! Early this morning, the Milkshakes Snotel site reported 68” and by evening over 13” of snow had accumulated for a total of 81”. It should be a great weekend. NOAA weather forecasts cooler weather and continued snow falling for most of the week ending Sunday the 18th. Saturday the 17th may be a bit warmer but then drop down into the mid 20’s for a high. This is one of those years if you want to snowmobile you have to become a “Storm Chaser” or at least be ready when the snow falls. Several of us have followed storms around the NW and have had a great time playing in the powder. The old timers say March is typically the best snowmobile month of the year. We’ll pray the old timers are right and that it starts ramping up soon. Don’t forget to check in with the Wallowa Avalanche Center @ Be safe and have a great weekend.

What’s new on the Mountain.

The Tollgate Store is officially open and has been renamed the “Alpine Outpost”!! The new owners are busy remodeling but are serving meals most days of the week. I can personally vouch for the pizza and clubs, they are amazing and all served with a smile. It’s going to be a great addition to our mountain. We are now able to snowmobile all day and come in for a hot healthy meal before heading down the mountain or back to our cabin. We wish Victoria and Ren all the best as they open their new store and restaurant. You can find them on Facebook at Blue Mountain Outpost.

New Technology

Jeff Wagner, one of our new groomer drivers with help from Jess Thompson has created an Interactive map of the Tollgate Trail System.  By using the Avenza Map application on your smart phone it will pin point your precise location. This will be very helpful for newcomers as wells as those of us that tend to get turned around a bit. Just another safety tool to not only define where you are on the map but to let you friends and family know as well.  You probably will need cell service, however without endorsing a cell phone carrier, there are companies that have good cell reception on the mountain and the App is free. Thanks Jeff and Jess!

Listed below are the instructions on how to download it on your smart phone. 

1.  Load Avenza Map app on phone or tablet 

2.  Select the store button or the + icon in upper right corner

3.  Select “get a map from store”

4.  Type “Tollgate Trail Finders Snowmobile Map” in the “find maps” area

5.  Select the map file for the free download. 

User location should appear as a colored dot on map showing their current location. Pins can be placed on map for points of interest and notes.  This makes using our trail map as easy as using google maps.    It will show your current location on our map along with GPS coordinates. A person can now take a screenshot of app and text an image that shows location on map along with GPS info to anyone.   

Upcoming Activities

Organized club rides are on hold for the time being until the weather cooperates. We will update as conditions change on Facebook “Tollgate Trail Finders,” and our Club Website. 

March 3rd at 9am – Advanced GPS Ride – Backcountry and GPS Skills focus for this ride. Led by Brandon Christensen. Note: for advanced riders only

March 3rd at 9:30 am – Family Ride to Ruckel Junction – led by Cecil Berry

March 3rd at 5pm – TTF Club meeting and Elections. This will be our last meeting of the 2017-2018 season. 

March 3rd at 6pm – Annual Steakout. After the club meeting we will be BBQing your favorite steak or whatever you would like to put on the grill. It will be potluck style…Please bring a salad or dessert and the Club will furnish baked potatoes, bread rolls and all the toppings for the spuds. This is a great time to get together, laugh and reminisce about the past seasons activities and enjoy a night with your snow friends. 

March 24th – Vintage Snowmobile Weekend at Alpine Outpost! Bring your vintage sleds. BBQ at the Alpine Outpost. Come join the fun!



Our grooming chairman, Jess Thompson, has an in-depth groomers report posted on the TTF Website.

It includes conditions and possible hazards. The lack of snow and warmer weather has opened up water holes on some of the trails. Jess states that most of the trails are in good shape and with the weather cooling down this week they should be able to resume grooming the trails. 

Let’s all continue to think Snow and we look forward to seeing everyone March 3rd for the Steakout!!

Tollgate Trail Finders

The Store will be OPEN!!!




Hey All!

I have been asked to put this on the website by a few people, so I will oblige since this is an important piece of news for our community up here.

Well……. the store has been SOLD folks. Ren and Victoria, who run the Blue Mountain Outpost, have been the lucky buyers! They will be having a dinner Saturday night to host the folks at the Tollgate Trail Finders Snowmobile club with our monthly meeting. I know this is mostly for the TTF crowd but this news is just too long in the making not to share it.

They will open tomorrow evening and will host a dinner for the TTF Club. so no potluck this time!

For Sunday they will have the Football Game and festivities will start about 3pm.

I am so happy,, I just might be at the football game. (btw……I am not a fan of football…..sorry) BUT HEY !!!!! YOU ARE ! COME AND SUPPORT THE STORE!


Tollgate TTF Newsletter January 2018

CLUB UPDATE by Bob Smith – TTF Board Member

Happy New Year’s Snowmobilers,

We were off to a good start for snow depth at Christmas continuing through the 28th of December when we received a big rain storm instead of snow. We’ve been getting lots of moisture but warmer temps in the higher elevations have caused that precipitation to be in the form of rain rather than snow. It’s still early and a lot can change quickly in the mountains. We have several websites at our disposal to gather weather forecast info around the Tollgate area. Our web site not only has a webcam for a visual peek at the snow but has a link to NOAA Weather Forecast for Tollgate which provides a 7-day weather forecast. Another great site is SNOTEL; this site provides information from weather stations across America. Simply type in SNOTEL Oregon and it has a clickable site map that provides detailed snow depth info across all of Oregon state. In our area, the Milkshakes and High Ridge SNOTEL sites are within our club’s general area. The Milkshakes SNOTEL is north of the Chapman Bone Springs Shelter and the High Ridge SNOTEL is towards the Ruckel Shelter.


Over the Christmas holiday several of the club members were involved in a search and rescue for some snowmobilers who became stuck and lost near the Mottet Campground area several miles from Chapman Bone Springs Warming Shelter. It all turned out well, the couple was found, their snowmobiles were dug out and they were led back to their vehicle at Morning Creek Snow Park safely. Fortunately, the couple had a cell phone and extra battery pack/ charger to keep the phone alive while contacting the Umatilla County Sheriff’s office. They were able to give the search party a location where they were stranded. They also had fire starting equipment to build a fire and stay warm until help arrived. As our club reflected on the evening of the rescue, there were lessons learned and skills that need to be brushed up. We were fortunate that the Sheriff’s department had good communication with the Club President and that the TTF has a good networking system to quickly organize a search party. This was a gentle reminder that we all need to brush up on our GPS skills, carry a first aid kit, a means of communication and fire-starting materials. In case of emergency we need to be able to pinpoint our location and share that location with authorities, friends and family.


Saturday January the 6th Victor McNeil head of the Wallowa Avalanche center and wife Kelly put on an Avalanche training class at the club house and in the field. It was a great learning experience on Avalanche awareness. We learned how to use our beacons, probes and shovels in the field to locate potential buried victims. Victor and Kelly did a great job and those in attendance felt confident we could locate a victim if the need ever arose. We learned the key words “know before you go”. Check in with the Wallowa Avalanche center on snow conditions in the Blue Mountains before you go sledding via their web site Spend some time on their website to learn about avalanche awareness. They have great self-help videos that could save your life or someone you love! Have a great time this snowmobile season and above all be safe. The “Wallowa Avalanche Centers” guide points out: Get the Gear, Get the Training, Get the Forecast, Get the Picture and Get out of Harms way. Photo Credit – Wallowa Avalanche Center


Special thanks for all the sponsors that made our New Year’s Eve party a big success. We celebrated the incoming New Year over dinner with a packed club house. The tables were covered with prizes and money from sponsors across the Columbia Basin that were raffled off by our Club President Bob Carroll and Vice President Brandon Christensen. The prizes get bigger and better every year and most in attendance won a prize. The sponsors include Ride Now Power Sports Kennewick, Experience Power Sports Moses Lake, Mid Valley Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Grandview, Desert Pump & Irrigation of Pasco, Goss Family Jewelers of Hermiston and La Grande and many others who privately contributed.

An extra special “Thank You” to Hollis Zschokke – State Farm Insurance in Kennewick who generously donated $1000.00 in cash prizes for the “Poker Run” that was held December 31. The cash was awarded to 11 lucky winners at our New Year’s Eve party with the grand prize being $300. Thank you Hollis!! Your Generosity is a great help to our Club! Photo Credit – Tollgate Trailfinders


Saturday January 20th @ 10:00 am is the kids ride to Chapman Bone Springs Warming shelter led by Kolby Christensen. Plan to bring your kids under 16 who are snowmobile certified. This should be a blast for adults as well as the kids. We ask that kids bring at least one adult to make sure everyone is safe and having fun. Many of the leaders of the club will be there to supervise and follow along. We plan to have prizes for the kids that make the ride. Please bring your own drinks and whatever other snacks you may want. Photo Credit – Brandon Christensen

NEW LOOK, TTF WEBSITE! Keep an eye on the new TTF Web site that Tammy Davenport one of our Board members is creating for our club. It should be new and refreshing. It will take a bit of time to have it all up and running but she has the creative juices and energies to bring it to life. Thank you Tammy!

Check the TTF Clubs Calendar and on the Tollgate Trailfinders Facebook Page for upcoming events.

Tollgate Trailfinders

January 13th Grooming Report


I was on the mountain on Friday this week.  We have gotten 6-8 inches of new wet snow with a total about 1 1/2 feet at the groomer shed.  The temperature was 39 degrees, too warm to groom and the snow is too wet to work.  It would just ball up into snowballs.  We really need cold weather and more snow, good snow, to groom.  Grooming programs across the state are having the same problem.  Lack of snow and warm temperatures parking most groomers. The rest of the week-end does not look good for grooming as temperatures are going to be in the high 30’s (it is 37 at Tollgate right now, Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with ODOT report of light rain), and night time temperatures are too warm to freeze up the snow.  There is more rain in the forecast the first of next week, warm temperatures.


Wish I had better news.


Jess Thompson TTF grooming chaiarman

TTF Newsletter December 2017

Club Update by Bob Smith – TTF Board Member  Snowmobile Friends, At the writing of this December newsletter we are anxiously awaiting that beautiful white stuff… Snow.  December 1st marks the official opening day of snowmobiling when over the dirt with tires ends and over the snow with tracks begins.  Many of us at the TTF …

Keep readingTTF Newsletter December 2017